Because of their ability to provide low-heat ambiance to large areas, fluorescent bulbs are ideal for places such as businesses, garages, bathrooms, kitchens, basements and workshops.
In order to operate properly, a fluorescent light ignites the gases inside the bulb with the help of a ballast.
Worn out, or otherwise not working ballasts are one of the most frequent causes of broken fluorescent light fixtures.
Follow the steps below to replace the ballast on your fluorescent lights.
Replace All Bulbs The first step in the ballast replacement process is to replace all of the bulbs.
Although you may suspect that the ballast is the culprit, doing this will often fix the problem that you are having.
If you still do not have light, then you can move on to replacing the ballast.
Finding the Ballast Start by turning off the power at your electrical to the room that you are working in.
You can then begin looking for the ballast, which is typically located in the fixture.
The ballast is normally a small black box that is connected with two wires to your light fixture.
If nuts connect the wires, you can remove the ballast this way.
Otherwise you will need to cut the wires where they come into contact with the rest of the light fixture.
Removing and Replacing the Ballast In some cases, you may be able to remove and replace the ballast without having to take down the entire fixture.
In most cases, however, it is much easier to remove the fixture itself in order to reach and remove the ballast.
Simply unclip, unscrew or otherwise take off the ballast and disconnect the wires.
Take the ballast to a local home improvement or hardware store so that you can get an exact replacement.
You will need to match the length, type and number of tubes to make sure that it will work with your fixture.
Once you have your replacement ballast, simply perform the previous steps in reverse.
If you had to cut wires, then you can connect your new ballast to the old wires with wire nuts.
If it connected with nuts, just screw everything into place.
Although fluorescent light fixtures can be a great way to provide soft light to a large space, it can be very frustrating when they are not working right.
Broken ballasts can cause your lights to flicker and hum, leading to inadequate light and undesirable working conditions.
Rather than replacing the entire fixture, however, most fluorescent lights can be fixed with the simple ballast replacement that is detailed above.
Before going out to choose replacement fixtures for a fluorescent light that is not cooperating, try changing the ballast.
In turn, you will save energy, money and the extra time that it takes to replace the fixture itself.